Domtar mill to be idled through end of August

Aerial photo of Kingsport's Domtar paper mill which is expected to be idled through the end of August.

KINGSPORT — Kingsport’s Domtar paper mill will continue to be idled by the COVID-19 pandemic through the end of August, the mill’s manager told the Kingsport Economic Development Board on Tuesday.

“Because of market conditions driven by COVID, it has turned but the rebound has been extremely low,” said mill Manager Marty Barfield. “For the company, the gain in demand has been incremental. We’re still off by, for the corporation, off by about a third which is business paper and office paper. We are going to extend the outage for Kingsport until the end of August. That’s the bad news. The good thing is we’re extending the benefits to our employees. The company is continuing to evaluate options. We do have a skeleton crew here that’s keeping the facility safe.”

According to a company fact sheet, the paper mill has a $1.3 billion economic impact on the Kingsport area. In 2018, the mill gave $200,000 to community causes. It is the third-largest employer in Kingsport with more than 300 jobs. The company first announced the idling of the mill in April.

Opened in 1916, the mill produces uncoated paper and reuses up to 100% of its manufacturing waste. The mill also helped develop the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing.